One of our favorite read alouds is Laura Ingalls Wilder's series about her childhood and early adult life as a pioneer.
I was reminded* today of a passage in Little Town on the Prairie, when Laura is attending Fourth of July festivities in town with Pa and Carrie. Laura is a young teenager at the time, around 14 years old. There were firecrackers and smoked herring and lemonade and even carriage races with dashing young men from New York.
In the middle of it all, a man stood up and read the Declaration of Independence aloud. Then Pa started a round of "My Country 'tis of Thee."
The crowd was scattering away then, but Laura stood stock still. Suddenly she had a completely new thought. The Declaration and the song came together in her mind, and she thought: God is America's king.
She thought: Americans won't obey any king on earth. Americans are free. That means they have to obey their own consciences. No king bosses Pa; he has to boss himself. Why (she thought), when I'm a little older, Pa and Ma will stop telling me what to do, and there isn't anyone else who has a right to give me orders. I will have to make myself be good.
Her whole mind seemed to be lighted up by that thought. This is what it means to be free. It means, you have to be good. "Our father's God, author of liberty-" The laws of Nature and of Nature's God endow you with a right to life and liberty. Then you have to keep the laws of God, for God's law is the only thing that gives you a right to be free.
Today, and every day, I am thankful for the true and abiding freedom we have in Christ. "So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed!" (John 8:36)
*Thank you for the reminder of this inspiring passage from LIW, Mariah!